National Lacrosse League: 10 Things To Know For Week 8
via NLL press release, by Ryan Ireland
Four-Game Schedule Includes Friday Showdown Between Knighthawks, Bandits in Local Rivalry atop East Conference
PHILADELPHIA, January 19, 2023 – The National Lacrosse League (@NLL), the world’s largest and most successful professional lacrosse league, features a four-game slate this weekend, including the Western New York local battle between unbeaten Rochester (5-0) and Buffalo (4-1) for first place in the East on Friday at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+, TSN+).
Here are 10 things to know about the NLL for Week 8:
- Rochester endured a few rough seasons as an expansion team, winning just six games combined in 2019-20 and 2021-22. But a balanced attack led by Connor Fields (16 goals) (East Amherst, N.Y.) and defense which has allowed the third fewest goals per game (9.60) with Rylan Hartley (Toronto, Ont.) in net has the Knighthawks as the lone unbeaten team at 5-0, one win shy of doubling their franchises total wins. This iteration of the franchise replaced the one which relocated to Halifax after the 2018-19 campaign.
- Last weekend’s eight contests were decided by an average of 3.125 goals (including two that went to overtime), the lowest margin of victory since Week 2’s abbreviated four-game slate recorded a 2.25 goal margin in December. Two games were one-goal affairs and two others were won by two. Removing the Rock’s 17-8 win over Halifax would reduce the Week 7 margin to just 2.3 for the other seven games.
- Quick scheduling note: The start time of Saturday’s Toronto Rock at Philadelphia Wings game has been moved to 1 p.m. ET to avoid a conflict with the NFL Divisional Round game there. NBC Sports Philadelphia will now carry the game locally, in addition to coverage on ESPN+ and TSN+.
- ESPN SportsCenter was full of NLL highlights in its Top 10 plays, with three this past weekend. Albany’s Ethan Walker’s (Peterborough, Ont.) goal vs. Halifax (Friday, No. 9), Buffalo’s Josh Byrne’s (New Westminster, B.C) acrobatic tally vs Georgia (Saturday, No. 8) and this nifty behind-the-net play from Larson Sundown (Basom, NY) (Sunday, No. 3) by all earned honors.
- New York Riptide General Manager and EVP Rich Lisk announced on Wednesday that the team has acquired Colton Lidstone (Victoria, B.C.), Petey Lasalla (Miller Place, N.Y.), Kevin Orleman (Kitchener, Ont.), a second-round pick in the 2024 NLL Draft, a second-round pick in the 2025 NLL Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NLL Draft (via Albany) from Panther City Lacrosse Club in exchange for four time all-pro forward Callum Crawford (Ottawa, Ont.).
- With three assists in Saturday’s win over the Seals, Calgary goalkeeper Christian Del Bianco (Coquitlam, B.C.) adds $1,500 towards KidSport Calgary’s Assists For Kids program thanks to Ascent Consulting. The season total is up to $4,000 for the charity, which raises funds to remove the financial barriers that prevent some kids from participating in organized sport.
- The expansion Las Vegas Desert Dogs are Sin City’s latest attraction, and their story remains in its early chapters. The team is bringing fans a behind-the-scenes look at their first season in “Building the Pack,” a video series launched this week, presented by Polygon. See the first episode here.
- Time to plan for this one as the Albany FireWolves have announced their “New York State AFL-CIO Union Strong Night” will take place on Saturday, April 15, at 7 p.m. at the MVP Arena. The first 500 union members to purchase tickets through a dedicated discount link will receive a co-branded Union Strong/FireWolves hat.
- Some milestones players eclipsed last week include:
- Albany defenseman Brett Manney (Newtown, Pa.) played in his 200th career game vs. Halifax
- Albany forward Kieran McArdle (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) now has 204 career points after his four-goal, four-assist effort vs. Halifax
- Georgia forward Shayne Jackson (Bowmanville, Ont.) now has 402 career assists after notching three vs. Buffalo
- Halifax forward Austin Shanks (Courtise, Ont.) scored his 100th career goal vs. Albany
- New York forward Reilly O’Connor played in his 100th career game vs. Rochester
- Panther City forward Patrick Dodds (Victoria, B.C.) now has 103 career points after a goal and four assists vs. Philadelphia
- Philadelphia forward Blaze Riorden (Fairport, N.Y.) now has 102 career assists after posting three vs. Panther City
- Rochester forward Holden Cattoni (Calgary, Alb.) recorded two assists vs. New York for 200
- San Diego forward Curtis Dickson (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) now has 403 career assists after tallying four vs. Calgary. His 19 goals are second in the league this year and give him 477, good for eighth all-time. Teammate, Dane Dobbie (Elora, Ont.) sits in seventh place at 484 goals for his career and Halifax’s Ryan Benesch (Elmira, Ont.) has 12 this year for 492, sixth all-time. Colin Doyle (527) in fifth is the next target.
- Toronto forward Stephen Keogh (Toronto) now has 201 assists after two vs. Halifax
- Newly-acquired Calgary forward Josh Currier (Peterborough, Ont.) tallied his 100th career goal vs. San Diego
- Vancouver forward Shawn Evans (Peterborough, Ont.) had three goals vs. Las Vegas (462 career) as he passed Mark Steenhuis (459) for ninth on the all-time list. He needs one game played to pass Shawn Williams for 10th place AND tie Anthony Cosmo for 9th place with 258.
- Some milestones players may reach this week include:
- Albany forward Jerome Thompson (Nedrow, N.Y.) needs two points to reach 100
- Buffalo forward Kyle Buchanan (Nepean, Ont.) needs one goal to reach 200
- Las Vegas forward Jacob Ruest (Cornwall, Ont.) needs one goal to reach 100
- New York defenseman Damon Edwards (Toronto, Ont.) needs one point for 100
- Rochester defenseman Dan Coates (St. Catharines, Ont.) needs eight faceoff wins to reach 500
- Toronto goaltender Nick Rose (Orangeville, Ont.) needs 56 minutes played to pass Aaron Bold (Victoria, B.C) for seventh all-time with 8,398 minutes in net
- Vancouver forward Riley Loewen (Burnaby, B.C.) needs three points to reach 300
Schedule – Week 8 (All Times Eastern)
Bandits (4-1) @ Knighthawks (5-0), 7:30pm, ESPN+, TSN+
Warriors (1-4) @ Desert Dogs (0-4), 10:30pm, ESPN+, TSN+
Rock (3-2) @ Wings (2-2), 1pm, ESPN+, TSN+*
Riptide (0-4) @ FireWolves (2-2), 7pm, ESPN+, TSN+
*updated start time
About the National Lacrosse League
The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is North America’s premier professional lacrosse league. Founded in 1986, the NLL ranks third in average attendance for pro indoor sports worldwide, behind only the NHL and NBA. The League is comprised of 15 franchises across the United States and Canada: Albany FireWolves, Buffalo Bandits, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, Georgia Swarm, Halifax Thunderbirds, Las Vegas Desert Dogs, New York Riptide, Panther City Lacrosse Club (TX), Philadelphia Wings, Rochester Knighthawks, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Toronto Rock, and Vancouver Warriors.
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